The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity, New Delhi in an appeal filed under Section 111(1) of the Electricity Act, 2003 stated that the Ministry or Department of the Central Government dealing with the Defence and Atomic Energy is exempted under Section 184 of the Electricity Act.

The appeal was filed by M/s Heavy Water Plant (Manuguru) and Union of India, Department of Atomic Energy i.e., the appellants.

The Appellate Tribunal comprising Chairperson Ramesh Ranganathan and Technical Member Sandesh Kumar Sharma observed –

"A literal construction of Section 184, prima facie, makes the provisions of the Act inapplicable to those Ministries/Departments of the Government of India which deal with Defence and Atomic Energy. In so far as other Ministries are concerned, it is only if they are notified by the Central Government, would the provisions of the Act then not be applicable to them. The said provision is, prima facie, unconditional and absolute. We are satisfied, prima facie, that Parliament, in its wisdom, has chosen not to make the Act applicable to the Ministries/Department of Defence and Atomic Energy. The scope and ambit of the said provision, and the question whether these Ministries/Departments can claim exemption of the benefits available under the Act, while at the same time avoid discharging their liability thereunder, are all matters for examination in the main appeal."

Advocates Shoumendu Mukherji and Megha Sharma appeared on behalf of the appellants while Advocates Somandri Goud Katam and Swapna Seshadri represented the respondents.

The appellant in this matter is a unit working directly under the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India. The unit is engaged in the production of Nuclear Grade Heavy Water which is used as a coolant and moderator in Nuclear Power Reactors. On February 18, 2022, an ex parte interim stay was granted on the demand notices of Rs. 289.59 Crores pertaining to Grid Support Charges issued by North Distribution Company of Telangana Limited, Govt of Telangana.

The North Distribution Company had now filed an application seeking vacation of the said interim stay order. On December 21, 2022, the Appellate Tribunal dismissed the said application. After hearing the counsel appearing for the Central Government, the Tribunal ordered that the interim stay order was thus made absolute since there are no judicial precedents governing the issue at the moment.

Cause Title - Heavy Water Plant (Manuguru) & Anr. v. Telangana State Electricity Regulatory Commission & Ors.

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